Dissecting the 10,000 hour rule

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

In this episode, I’m going to take apart or dissect the 10,000 hour rule. So this isn’t as much as a learning episode where I teach you something, although you might learn a couple things based on my opinion of the 10,000 hour rule, but you may have at one point thought of a craft or a skill that you wanted to master in order to have that ability in the future, in either a business you want to run or a job that you’re looking to get the mastery of a craft or have a skill set or a talent, definitely takes 10,000 hours I’m not disputing that. But there is a misconception as to how to reach the 10,000 hours that you need to reach. And I’m going to break it down for you. In this episode, the first thing I realized years ago when I was inadvertently.

Reaching the 10,000 hour milestone for certain skills or crafts or talents that I eventually figured out that I had. Through trial and error, of course, you don’t have to focus on those 10,000 hours, and only that you can carry on with your life. If you have a job or you have a spouse, you have kids, you have a social life, things that you have to do to maintain mental and emotional wellness, 10,000 hours. Let’s break it down into the actual hours, if you’re doing say eight hours a day, which is the equivalent of a job. That’s gonna take you three and a half years to reach 10,000 hours. Okay, so that’s a lot. If you decide you only want to do one hour a day well that’s going to take you a hell of a lot longer it’s going to take you probably your whole life to master that craft. In my case, it definitely took a couple of years for each skill that I learned whether I learned how to be a musician that took years learning how to be a screenwriter or a novelist, definitely took years learning how to be a filmmaker, definitely took years learning how to build websites or mobile apps or designing things.

A couple of years, each one of these skills that I, I guess I was cultivating them. I was picking away at priority task lists of things I want to learn in order to accomplish certain goals. I just stumbled upon 10,000 hours, because I was doing these things that I wanted to do in order to get better at my craft. And that’s kind of what I want to say here is it’s very daunting for people to see the 10,000 hour rule. They’ve, they might have read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it’s a great book that has a lot of different points as to, you know, needing to have a good upbringing by your parents, socio economic stability so if you come from an affluent family you’re not poor you’re you’re wealthy, having a good college degree, having connections in certain industries being surrounded by really important people. And also being kind of eccentric and being kind of a loner, you know, and focusing on 1000 hours, and I’m not saying you can’t do that because you definitely can’t and I’ve done it at some point where I was just focusing, you know, for years, on making movies or building websites and apps, or making music or writing screenplays. But what I want to say is, in terms of dedicating yourself to learning the craft or the skill. Don’t beat yourself up over it, don’t don’t make it think like oh I got to focus on these 10,000 hours and that’s all I can do I got to put on my horse blinders and just focus on these 10,000 hours, you’re gonna drive yourself nuts, you’re probably going to burn yourself out. And you’re probably not going to finish the 10,000 hours, you’re probably going to get tired or depressed or disillusioned with the whole process and you’re going to give up.

So instead, what I’d like to do is break it into pieces right dissecting the 10,000 hours we’re getting to the nuts and bolts here. How do you dissect the 10,000 hours well, you can break it up into different. A variety of tasks right like you can break it up into research, learning, watching or or studying the other people who have done things in that industry. Right, looking at examples, truly finding out what worked for these people, and what didn’t work, learning from their mistakes, especially nowadays 2021 We live in a sci-fi futuristic society, where everything is at your fingertips. Learning has never been easier. You have courses online, ebooks, audio books, YouTube videos with tutorials. I mean the 10,000 hours, you could probably cut that down to 5000 hours but keep in mind. The hours are really you, performing the skills or the craft, It’s really you honing in practicing, and that’s probably the biggest piece. Every day, no matter what you do as you’re learning this new craft, researching information about it, watching videos, taking a course, you should also dedicate at least an hour, maybe two hours practicing that craft or that skill. If it’s singing, you should be singing every day for an hour or two just scales and popular songs that are easy to sing. If it’s filmmaking, you should be picking up a camera and just shooting stuff, editing stuff, learning how to manipulate the equipment and the software part of it. If it’s web development or mobile app development, same thing you should be creating, creating, creating all day long just making new projects. If it’s writing, same thing you should be writing something every day.

y doing this, by just engaging in the craft or the skill, every day, making it part of your daily routine, as you’re learning and researching and watching and taking courses and tutorials and whatnot. Surround yourself with other people who are similar in craft or talent so you can, you know, bounce your ideas off of them or get feedback or suggestions. As long as you’re practicing that craft, you’re going to improve, you’re going to get better. And as you learn, and research and watch and all these things, you’re going to find things that can help you improve and fine tune your craft, oh I picked up this new idea for the video okay I’m gonna incorporate that in my daily routine. I found this article that explains how to do this better. I’m going to incorporate that into my routine, keep trying to basically improve and get better at your skill and your craft, and if it takes three to five years it takes three and a half years, who cares. That’s the thing like people get so turned off, it feels like it’s daunting, it’s intimidating that you know these, the construct of time. First of all, is a prison, like we’re stuck in this construct of, oh, it’s going to take three and a half years to do this for 10,000 hours, who cares, you’re going to be alive hopefully for the next 50 years. What’s free? You know what’s five, what’s 10 learning that skill or that talent. If you’re spending your time doing it, you’ll be able to use that for the rest of your life, however long that may be. So I would definitely suggest, if you want to pick up a new skill or. skill or talent or craft, anything at all. Forget about how long it’s gonna take. Let’s break the 10,000 hour rule, let’s call it the life rule, it’s just part of your life. And instead of counting the hours. Oh, I definitely did 10,000 hours of this so I must be good at it. That’s not true. You could be singing every single day for three to five years and be tone deaf. Sounds like a parent who’s choking on a cracker and never gets good at it.

So that’s not the case 10,000 hours is not the end all be all. It’s learning how to get good at something that you can now apply to multiple things and I’ve done that so many times over the past 20 years that I’ve probably done 10,000 hours, five or six times for five or six different skills or talents or graphs. So don’t think of it in terms of a timeframe as much as it is a life skill. If you do that, you will break through and dissect the 10,000 hour rule just like I did. And if you have done it, or if you’re thinking of doing it, I’d love to know what it is you’re thinking of trying out what skill or craft or talent you’re thinking you can try. And I’ll give you some feedback as to how you can do that if you leave me some comments. Hopefully this was insightful in the least bit, and I hope that you do engage in the 10,000 hour rule and you do pick up a new skill trade or craft, and I will see you all in next week’s episode.



Jason Sherman